Category Archives: Success
Every so often, something good will come out of a Bad Idea. Or at least it seems good. For certain definitions of “good,” which are, of course, usually bad.
Nearly two years ago, I impulsively responded to the Craigslist ad of an electronic band looking for a female singer. I’d never really sang before (other than the occasional foray into my own “band,” which sounded pretty terrible and hardly counts), and certainly had never taken any voice lessons. Nonetheless, I threw caution to the wind, and figured nothing bad could possibly come of it, since if I sucked, they’d probably just ignore me. No harm, no foul.
A few rounds of black-box-style auditions later, I somehow got the job. The “band” turned out to be one very sweet, kinda geeky guy, who possessed talent and stage fright in equal (fairly significant) amounts.
After two years of various obstacles and diversions (as it turns out, he is one of us, which is probably part of why we get along so well despite usually wanting to strangle each other), we are finally about to complete a full-length album. We also performed live for the first time ever last week, opening for another band that was also very nice and kinda geeky (but which actually had three guys in it).
Since I likewise possess talent and stage fright in approximately equal (although slightly less significant) amounts, the performance pretty much consisted of him hiding behind a laptop and keyboard, and me clinging to the microphone with some kind of death grip, except without as much style as, say, Beth Gibbons of Portishead manages when clinging to the microphone as though if she were to let go, the weight of her pain would cause her to dissolve into a puddle of emotional turmoil on the floor next to her fallen cigarette ashes.
But alas, I submit photographic proof of yet another Bad Idea at least partially executed:
Since my primary objective since childhood has been to play music at all available opportunities, I’m pretty proud of this one. I’ll be even more proud once the damn album is done.
And best(?!) of all, we get to do it again in a few weeks, as we’ll be playing in Albany in early December. Huzzah.
As an aside, our manager told me they had nearly a hundred people respond to that initial ad on Craigslist looking for a singer. How I ended up being “the one” with absolutely zero training or experience is still beyond me, especially in a city with so many professional and wannabe-professional alternative-style singers due to the close proximity of certain musically-oriented colleges.
But I’ve taken a whopping eight singing lessons since then, from a really excellent teacher (who actually used to sing for my bandmate’s other band), which helped immensely. I’ve also been told I sound like a cross between Natalie Merchant and Sarah McLachlin, which I take as a huge compliment, because they’re both fabulous (and gorgeous). Except when Master P uses too much pitch correction. Then I sound like the bastard child of Cher and T-Pain, which is much less complimentary (and I think I’ll skip the gold grills and thong-with-fishnets combo).
I have completed a project! That’s right, finished. I now have an upright shelving unit in my bedroom closet on which to store my shirts! No matter that what I was trying to do was install a shelf along the back wall of the closet, which is still not even started. Its still a success and I intend to treat it like one.
This is how a lot of my bad ideas end. With a successful completion of a project entirely different from the one I intended to do. But hey, it looks awesome, and I now have more storage, and it is organized like a BOSS, which is what I wanted. Its now 10PM and I don’t really have time to finish putting together the other new shelves I bought… but of course, I am going to do so anyways, because sleeping is overrated.
This project can be upgraded to FULL SUCCESS. The new cabinets went together without a hitch, and thirty minutes later, I’ve got me that shelf in my closet I’d been wanting. Complete with baskets, bins, and whatnot. How ’bout that, eh?
Feels good to be done.
Tonight’s unbearably strong impulse is to carve a pumpkin.
Fortunately, I possess no pumpkins. Cleanup is the bane of my existence, requiring far too much follow through to hold my interest. Late at night, it would have doubtless been forgotten. I would have wandered off, full of the smug satisfaction of a masterpiece completed, and leaving in my wake a gory mess of pumpkin guts, smeared across the tools and table to dry into a hard semi-permanent crust. Pumpkin chunks intended to become pie would desiccate on the table into a shanty town for my fruit fly population, seeds left in a bowl on the counter never to be roasted.
Despite knowing the likely outcome, It was all I could do to resist taking off at 10PM on a gourd-finding expedition. I was secretly hoping for an All Hallows Eve miracle. A horrible accident involving a pumpkin truck outside my door, or the pumpkin fairy magically manifesting in my kitchen and turning my common every day boring food items into carvable cucurbits. I even posted to facebook that someone should fetch me a pumpkin, knowing it would never happen but wishing that some intrepid enabler would hear my plea.
Instead of seeking out a pumpkin, I will placate the beast by posting photos of pumpkins from years past. These are examples of terrible ideas that turned out pretty okay, in the end.
2005 was the year that I decided five pumpkins was a fantastic number of pumpkins to carve. It started with a week of sketching, to make the perfect pumpkin plan. I carried a stack of drawings with me everywhere I went; work, dining out, to my parent’s house, and erased and redrew and traced furiously until I had my templates ready.
I can recall, about halfway through the last pumpkin, hand stained orange and cramping from hours of delicate carving with a flimsy blade on an awful plastic handle, thinking that there might be something wrong with me. But I absolutely could not rest until I had made one carving from each of my chosen templates.
The next few years were pretty tame, as far as pumpkin carving goes. I’d learned my lesson, it seemed, and avoided the Madness. I carved at my parent’s house so my mom would clean up after me, and stuck to one or two pumpkins only.
Then came 2008. Somehow my addlepated hampster-mind managed to cling to the idea that five pumpkins all at once was bad. But purchasing a brand new chisel set from one of my favorite stores, Harbor Freight, in order to carve pumpkins BETTER was a great idea. Sure, I’d never used a chisel and had no idea how. But that wasn’t going to stop me.
Fortunately, pumpkins are a very forgiving art form, and near-disaster was averted.